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Elite Selloff


Peter St John
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Weird that they're selling the IP of Battleship and Blue Thunder. What are you actually buying there? Presumably Hasbro wouldn't let you start selling games based on the Battleship boardgame, even if it was the C64, Spectrum and CPC versions.

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31 minutes ago, K said:

Weird that they're selling the IP of Battleship and Blue Thunder. What are you actually buying there? Presumably Hasbro wouldn't let you start selling games based on the Battleship boardgame, even if it was the C64, Spectrum and CPC versions.

Blue Thunder is an original game...any similarity to a helicopter TV series of the same name is purely coincedental ;-)

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See, imagine if Elite didn’t have its untrustworthy reputation, and a benign benefactor set up a crowdfund to purchase the games rights in order to ‘open source’* them for preservation purposes. If only.


* wrong term, I know.

 

(Anyway, seems strange that Elite is one of the last 8-bit era publishers still extant, given I can’t recall a game of theirs published after 1993. Presumably their lack of activity for so long is why they are now selling the family silver...)

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1 hour ago, K said:

Weird that they're selling the IP of Battleship and Blue Thunder. What are you actually buying there? Presumably Hasbro wouldn't let you start selling games based on the Battleship boardgame, even if it was the C64, Spectrum and CPC versions.

 

Hasbro owns "Battleship". Elite are offering "Battleships", which doesn't appear to be trademarked in any form (to my surprise, as I thought that's what it was commonly called).

 

"Blue Thunder", on the other hand, has been registered for "Computer game software for personal computers and home video game consoles". It's for some gambling software, but I don't think that makes any difference. 

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20 minutes ago, robotattack said:

 

Hasbro owns "Battleship". Elite are offering "Battleships", which doesn't appear to be trademarked in any form (to my surprise, as I thought that's what it was commonly called).

 

"Blue Thunder", on the other hand, has been registered for "Computer game software for personal computers and home video game consoles". It's for some gambling software, but I don't think that makes any difference. 


It’s described as ‘the classic board game now on computer’ in the ad, so I would hazard a guess that you’d struggle to exploit your ownership of the ‘Battleships’ IP. I guess you could get away with that in the early eighties, but in 2021 I don’t think you’d be buying anything you would actually own in any real sense. 

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What are you actually buying here?

 

https://www.elite-systems.auction/ip-rights-buy-sell/games-buy-sell/dragon-s-lair-for-sale-share-of-revenue_150

 

Quote

Dragon’s Lair (For Sale)

The Terms & Conditions of the IP Rights Assignment By Sale Agreement apply to this listing and may be downloaded from here.

Dragon’s Lair is an action-adventure game developed by Motivetime and released by Elite Systems and by Data East and by Konami (as Dragon's Magic) in 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) amongst others. “From deep within Mordroc's Castle, a foul stench rose up to mix with the cold, damp mitnight air; the telltale sign of the evil wizard's pet fire-breathing dragon, Singe; the beast that guarded the Princess Daphne in the deadly caves far below the...”

Seller (user)name: Motivetime Ltd

 

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5 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

A (guaranteed) share of revenue from an unreleased Mega Drive version of Dragon's Lair? I'm not sure whose responsibility it is to release it though. Do they even have rights to sell a Dragon's Lair game now, let alone sell it on to someone else? I'm not sure of anything as it's all a bit vague of what it is you're getting for anything.

 

5 hours ago, strider said:

 It must just be for mobile versions, surely?

 

There's separate categories for games and apps. At least with the apps you've got somewhere to sell them. I don't know what you're supposed to do with your Breakout clone, Batty if you buy that.

 

5 hours ago, DeciderVT said:

Someone's already put $1500 down for Chuckie Egg!

 

Based on the username and an assumption made from the Twitter bio, it looks like it might be Gary Liddon.

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19 hours ago, Peter St John said:

We should get the forum to invest in Turbo Esprit. Or Saboteur.

 

https://www.elite-systems.auction/ip-rights-buy-sell/games-buy-sell/saboteur-for-sale_190

 

(as usual, don't trust Elite as far as you can throw them, but interesting)


How can they sell Saboteur when Clive Townsend owns the rights, not Elite?

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This reminds me of comments in the Antstream thread about rights ownership. Like, in 1982 a 16 year old kid knocks up a game in their bedroom and sells it to, say, Ocean or Elite or whoever.  Would the coder have just handed over a cassette and been given £500 in a one off settlement for that game? Elite may think they own the game Saboteur, but what exactly do they own? Do they have the right to make a conversion to pc themselves? Do they own the concept of sneaking into a building and using ninja stars?  Is there anything in the contract about likeness rights for characters? Music composition? Sound effect design? Was there even a contract? Even if there was, where is it today, what can you actually prove? Is there a paper trail, all these years later that says that the 16 year old relinquished any and all rights to the entire concept? Or do they just have the rights to duplicate more tapes from that original tape they just bought.

 

Joffa Smith talked about the lack of copyright and ownership in those early days.  Someone wrote a game  for Ocean which allowed you to redefine the keys and that part of the code ended up being used by everyone. But I bet there's no contract in place that expressly gave permission for everyone to use his code. He just said conversationally over a brew that it was fine and no one complained. If he went to court today and argued that everybody used his redefine key code without permission, how could you possibly prove what was or wasn't said at the time?

 

When Brian Cranston whistled obsessively in Malcolm in the Middle, the legal team got in touch and explained he can't just whistle random tunes on TV. He had to come up with specific random sounding whistles, record them and have them on file.  He is also logged as the composer and performer of the whistles. That way, if any songwriter attempts to claim that he's whistling their song, they have everything in place to prove that he's whistling theme #3 , composed by Brian Cranston. He even gets music royalties.

 

That's the sort of watertight legal contract you need. Even if Elite can prove ownership of a game like Blue Thunder I'd doubt there's a paper trail in place that clearly gives the rights to all the elements of the TV series. (Like in Back to the Future on the Master System where they got the rights to the characters but not the likenesses so Doc and Marty look weird, deliberately). 

 

If you bought Blue Thunder and then made a PS4 remake with the same actors, helicopter, music etc, I'm sure you'd be sued to high heaven by Aaron Spelling or whoever. 

 

Having said that, if you can but full ownership of Chuckie Egg you could make a lot of money.  No idea why but that's a game really fondly remembered by more people than you'd think.

 

And Blue Thunder was on the Sony Channel on Freeview tonight, so someone still cares about ownership and is being paid.

 

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Short version, if Matthew Smith wrote Jet Set Willy and sold it to a publisher, who owns the character of Miner Willy? You'd need a contract that takes every aspect of ownership into account and back then it was probably written on a cigarette pack. 

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You wouldn’t own anything, and even if you did ,you couldn’t do, anything with it apart from say “I own it”

 

i could say “I own Turbo Esprit” and then what? Are we going to court to fight over essentially the rights to nothing?

 

yet again, it’s money grabbing. The only proof is a link to an interview, I doubt that’s legally binding.

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Yeah, the prevailing opinion in the retro community is they don't own a lot of, if not all the rights they're claiming to sell and people here have pointed out the obvious examples that even if they did, a lot of them would be useless to you.

 

You couldn't launch a new "Turbo Esprit" for the same reason Sega can't do a new Daytona.

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